KNOXVILLE – Tennessee beat Rutgers for the ninth time in a row, using stingy defense on the way to a 66-47 victory on Sunday afternoon. The victory was the 1,200th in the history of Lady Vol basketball, the most of any women’s basketball program in the nation.
UT is now 1,200-268 (.817) all-time in its 68th season.
The Lady Vols (9-3) jumped ahead early and led wire-to-wire with their second convincing win in a row. Tennessee led by double-figures for the final 33 minutes.
First-year head coach Holly Warlick was pleased with the Lady Vols’ effort.
“I loved it so much that I sprinted to the press room,” Warlick said. “I loved it. That group there is fun to watch. I think you see the result of two days of pretty tough, hard practices and staying on them.
“As a coach when you teach something and they respond, that’s exciting. I think our players responded to the coaching staff. I’m just proud of them. I can’t say enough about a great team effort today.”
Tennessee limited the Scarlet Knights (8-4) to just 34.6 percent from the floor in the game including 22.2 percent in the first half.
Sophomore Isabelle Harrison tied her career-high with 18 points. She grabbed 11 rebounds for her fourth careerdouble-double.
Harrison also had a career-high six steals, the most by a Lady Vol since Alicia Manning had six vs. Old Dominion last season.
Freshman Bashaara Graves hauled down a career-high 14 rebounds to go with 11 points for her sixth double-double of the season – tying for the most among any player in the SEC this season.
Junior Meighan Simmons added 15 points.
Combined with the 75-40 win over Davidson last Friday, the Lady Vols have outscored opponents 141-87, a margin of 27 points per game.
After holding a 20-point halftime lead, the Lady Vols continue to stand stout in the second half on both ends of the court.
Taber Spani’s 3-pointer with 14:16 left in the game ballooned the lead to 26 at 44-18. The margin moved to 28 on a Simmons fastbreak jumper, 48-20. That was the largest lead of the game for the Lady Vols. The closest Rutgers got in the final 10 minutes was 18.
Rutgers was led by Kahleah Cooper, who tallied 13 points before fouling out with 3:24 left in regulation. The Scarlet Knights were hampered by the loss of Monique Oliver, who suffered an ankle injury in the first half.
The 47 points were the second-fewest Rutgers has scored in the 22-game series between the teams that dates to 1979. The all-time low of 46 came in the 2007 National Championship game when UT beat Rutgers, 59-46.
Tennessee opens its SEC schedule on Thursday at No. 19/16 South Carolina in Columbia. That game airs on SportSouth and can be heard on the Lady Vol Network with a 9 p.m. tipoff.
The Lady Vols’ final non-conference game of the season comes against No. 5 Notre Dame on Jan. 28 in Knoxville.